update: should I give up on job-searching in my new city and move back home?

It’s “where are you now?” month at Ask a Manager, and all December I’m running updates from people who had their letters here answered in the past.

Remember the letter-writer who asked whether she should give up on job-searching in her new city and move back home? Here’s the update.

I was very fortunate and the situation ended up turning into a best case scenario!

I didn’t mention this in my letter, but prior to the lockdown, I had been interning at an agency in my dream industry. The agency was the place I dreamed of working at when I left my last job and it was directly placed in the career path I wanted to be on and was a really exciting opportunity. Although I was a bit hesitant to intern at this stage in my career, I decided to pursue it since it was directly in my career path. However, this had been cut short because of COVID and since the industry the agency was very heavily impacted by the initial lockdown.

I wrote the letter just as everything felt so helpless and had been unemployed for the better part of a year without seeing any light at the end of the tunnel. Things looked bleak and I think the real reason I wrote was to see if there was anyone who understood what I was going through or to see if maybe my situation wasn’t so hopeless after all. Your response was very kind and your readers lovely comments all really lifted my spirits. There was no consensus on whether I should move or I should stay, but I don’t think that mattered in the end. I think the real reason I wrote and what I really needed to hear was that I wasn’t foolish in my decision to move and that I hadn’t been wrong in my job search til then. The truth is I didn’t want to move back. I had left for a reason, which yes had to do with my career, but it also had to do with the fact that I realized that my hometown just wasn’t where I belonged. However, the day after you published my letter, my dad was laid off and essentially went into early retirement. At that moment, I decided that I was going to search in both cities and stop focusing on my industry and instead just focus on landing a paying job.

Well, onto the good news. Later that day, I was accepted into a training program at a very reputable and leading agency in my city. The application process was quite competitive and required a response to a brief. I had applied on a bit of a whim with a “why not?” mentality, but after I got accepted, I realized what a big deal it actually was and thought to myself “hey, maybe I do have what it takes to pull it off in this industry.” I decided to stick it out a bit longer in my new city and give it till the end of the fall. While I was participating in this program, the agency I interned at reached out to me about a full-time position that had opened up, and offered me the job a week later!

I have been in this position for about 2 months now and I’m LOVING it. It is directly in the field I always dreamed of being on and I get to work on very exciting projects. I find myself learning something new every day. It was a tough journey to be here, fraught with a lot of fear and frustration, but I consider myself very fortunate. What I’ve learnt in the past year has made me a stronger and more resilient individual and I don’t take the lessons of the past 10 months for granted. I am so grateful for the way things have turned out. Also, a huge thank you to everyone who commented. I hope not to sound too kooky but I believe the positive energy sent my way from your commenters was exactly what helped place me on this path, and I am so thankful for all the kind words that lifted my spirits. One comment in particular stuck out where they said “OP sounds kind. I hope things work out well for her.” To the person who wrote that comment, I really needed that during what felt like a very hopeless time, so thank you!

{ 18 comments… read them below }

  1. MommaCat*

    I remember your letter, and feeling really badly for you. I wondered if you were in my almost nonexistent-thanks-to-Covid industry. Your story gives me hope, so thank you.

  2. A Teacher*

    Kudos to you For sticking it out. I am glad that everything has worked out for you and that you have found success in your field that you wanted to be in. Happy new year!

  3. Randomity*

    I didn’t see your letter at the time OP but just went back and read it. I am so thrilled at how well things worked out for you! Well done for persevering <3

  4. Not So NewReader*

    Congratulations, OP. One of the many good choices you made here was to keep reaching out to others. It’s super important that in difficult times, times of crisis, that we do not force ourselves to walk alone. I am so glad everything worked out for you.

  5. Yennefer of Vengerberg*

    Wow! This is amazing to hear! I’m so very happy things worked out for you OP. I think it just goes to show that perseverance really does pay off. (Of course, it’s harder to believe that when you’re waiting for something that may never happen.) I’m in the middle of my own “new city” job hunt and your story gives me a lot of hope.

  6. EPLawyer*

    Congrats OP.

    Alison’s advice was to move back if your heart was telling you to. Clearly it wasn’t. You just wanted to know you were not an idiot for moving. You were NOT. You knew what you wanted to do. You had a safety net, emergency savings and a secondary source of income. It wasn’t going to get better for you to move and advance in your industry. The only snafu was something you could not predict – a global pandemic. You did good. It turned out even better than you expected after that low point you had. Which your feelings at the time were perfectly normal. Everything was — and still is — weird.

  7. Beth*

    I am SO THRILLED that you’re doing so well! May you have a long and rewarding career in your new industry, and a truly wonderful 2021 in your new city that is NOT your home town!

    (For the record, I like my home town much better now that I will never have to live there agasin.)

  8. cleo*

    This is a such a heartwarming, thoughtful update. Thank you LW for the upate and I’m so glad that things are going better.

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